Salcedo-Ortanez v. CA G.R. No. 110662 August 4, 1994 235 SCRA 111 (1994)

Facts: On 2 May 1990, private respondent filed with the RTC a complaint for annulment of marriage with damages against petitioner Teresita Salcedo-Ortanez, on grounds of lack of marriage license and/or psychological incapacity of the petitioner. Private respondent, after presenting his evidence, orally formally offered in evidence Exhibits. Among the exhibits offered by private respondent were three (3) cassette tapes of alleged telephone conversations between petitioner and unidentified persons. Petitioner submitted her Objection/Comment to private respondent’s oral offer of evidence; on the same day, the trial court admitted all of private respondent’s offered evidence. A motion for reconsideration from petitioner was denied. A petition for certiorari was then filed by petitioner in the CA assailing the admission in evidence of the aforementioned cassette tapes. The CA dismissed the said petition. From this adverse judgment, petitioner filed the present petition for review.

Issue: Whether “Tape Recordings” obtain in violation of RA 4200 is admissible as evidence in court

 

Held: No, RA 4200 entitled “An Act to Prohibit and Penalize Wire Tapping and Other Related Violations of the Privacy of Communication, and for other purposes” expressly makes such tape recordings inadmissible in evidence.

Sec. 1. It shall be unlawful for any person, not being authorized by all the parties to any private communication or spoken word, to tap any wire or cable, or by using any other device or arrangement, to secretly overhear, intercept, or record such communication or spoken word by using a device commonly known as a dictaphone or dictagraph or detectaphone or walkie-talkie or tape-recorder, or however otherwise described.

and Sec. 4. Any communication or spoken word, or the existence, contents, substance, purport, or meaning of the same or any part thereof, or any information therein contained, obtained or secured by any person in violation of the preceding sections of this Act shall not be admissible in evidence in any judicial, quasi-judicial, legislative or administrative hearing or investigation.

Clearly, RTC and CA failed to consider the afore-quoted provisions of the law in admitting in evidence the cassette tapes in question. Absent a clear showing that both parties to the telephone conversations allowed the recording of the same, the inadmissibility of the subject tapes is mandatory under Rep. Act No. 4200.

 

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